Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

We can often feel like pygmys in comparison to 'the measure of the stature of Christ' that some in the past attained to. But a good thing about 'A Long Line of Godly Men Profile' series from Reformation Trust (attached to Ligonier Ministries) is that it is designed to inspire. It is not eulogy disguised as biography. The lives of men like John Knox are studied to see the grace that was with them, and to point to their God - the ever living God. Douglas Bond has chosen to focus helpfully upon what he terms 'the mighty weakness' of Knox. That is, he was not a man who left sins and infirmities behind when he was born again, proceeding from strength to strength in a victorious life. No, out of fear he at first even refused to preach; he endured frail health all his days (although once spending months as a French galley slave!); and he had low views of himself and did not seek prominence. However, he fervently desired that Christ might be magnified among his fellow countrymen, and in prayer and preaching he laboured to that end. 'Out of weakness he was made strong.' He resembled the apostle Paul: 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.' Bond turns the spotlight upon Knox's power in a series of chapters on his submission to Christ and his word, prayer, preaching, writing, keynote doctrine (predestination), and pastoral care. But a glimpse into the greatness of Knox's spirit is seen in his attribution of the wonderful success of the Scottish Reformation: 'God gave his Holy Spirit in great abundance to simple men.' Oh for more such men!

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox published by Reformation Trust is a £12.99 quality hardback with dustjacket.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Big Bible Answers

Who remembers A Catechism for Boys & Girls? This was one of its covers, but I think it is now out of print, (although I am double checking on that - anyone with any info please let me know).  It has been a popular catechism amongst Baptist churches over the years. Interestingly it has been used as the basis for a new series from Christian Focus Publications (although notably the questions on Baptism have been edited out - with permission!). 
 Big Bible Answers is a series that aims to bring doctrine and theology to children.  Using the questions from the catechism, Bible and real-life stories demonstrate each doctrinal truth. Scripture references and 'Talking it over' points are added at the end of each story. For example, we learn about Galileo's astronomical discoveries in considering God the creator, we hear about the prophets of Baal and Elijah in learning about the one true God and Patrick of Ireland is used to teach us about prayer.

This looks like it could be a useful series and I particularly like the foreword:

As parents one of our greatest concerns is the spiritual condition of the hearts of our children...
...What parents need most is a deep realization that salvation is a supernatural work of God through the hearing and application of the Word, not a work of us as parents per se. For this reason, the salvation of our children must not be the goal of parenting but rather our desire given over to the will and purposes of God. What parents need next is to fix their hearts on the goal of faithfulness to God, for the glory of God. The chief end of parenting is to glorify God by doing what He has asked us to do as parents: be faithful to bring to our children His love and care, our changed lives, and above all, His Truth, both taught and practically applied

Saturday, 8 October 2016

New Titles, Christmas Cards & 2017 Calendars

For anyone who hasn't received our recent eBulletin, you can have a read of it here.  Check out our newest titles, browse our Christmas cards & find out about out how to sponsor a calendar for free distribution in Zambia. It's all happening!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Reading Together - our virtual reading club

Our virtual reading club has now been running for six years! Wow! I trust it has encouraged some ladies to read books they wouldn't otherwise have stuck with - it certainly has me. That was the original aim, not to have a light read, but a serious look at some authors we would otherwise find difficult to get through.  We've read Luther, Owen, Watson, Krummacher and more.  We are just about to start a new title and anyone who wants to join us would be very welcome to get in touch.
Alexander Whyte is probably best known for his series of books on Bible Characters, but Lord, Teach us to Pray is a study of the prayers of various Bible characters and also a look at the subject of prayer itself.  We will be starting this book in a couple of weeks.
The book club is for ladies only and runs via a members only blog so all discussions are private.  Please email if you would like more info.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

From Fear to Faith

These studies in the prophecy of Habakkuk were originally given in the 1950s, when the chief objects of fear and foreboding in national life were Communism and Atomic Warfare. Against this backdrop, and occupying a prominent position among evangelicals as minister of Westminster Chapel at the heart of London, Martyn Lloyd-Jones pointed his congregation to the same place as Habakkuk was brought to look to - the God of the Bible. This is no less our need in 2016, when Brexit and International Terrorism fill the news. But Lloyd-Jones was also careful to point out that this applies equally to all sources of fear and concern in the individual Christian's life.
After setting out the structure of the prophecy, Lloyd-Jones expounds the theme of Habakkuk's experience: his distress at Israel's sin, his perplexity at God's plans, his agonising over God's justice, his fears for the future, and then the triumph of his faith. How did Habakkuk overcome his concerns such that he finishes the book with confident praise? The answer is by not focussing on the immediate problem, but by fixing his eyes on God. He reminds himself of what he does know for sure - God's nature and character. He knows then that all is under God's control, all sin will be judged sooner or later, Israelite or Assyrian, and yet that in wrath he will remember mercy to sinners. Lloyd-Jones states that when it boils down to it there are only two ways in which to be, the way of reason or the way of faith, and that Habakkuk exemplifies the latter amid his turmoils. 
Lloyd-Jones goes on to make a study of the elements of true prayer - humility, adoration and petition, which are seen in Habakkuk. Incidentally, in his remarks on reverence in prayer, I feel that many of today's evangelicals would do well to heed Lloyd-Jones as he decries the attitude of 'easy familiarity'.
This slim book is easily read, but packs a punch. Pack it with your holiday things and you will find it a great help. I did.

From Fear to Faith by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by IVP, paperback £4.99.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Summer Holiday Reading Challenge

Summer has arrived!  Don't get too excited - here in England we don't necessarily expect the sun to last too long, but as we all know, that doesn't have to spoil the summer.  Especially if you have a book by your side...
Intended for children, but with plenty for adults to enjoy too, we are running our Summer Holiday Reading Challenge again.  The idea is simple - get some great books at great discounts, and if you complete the challenge your final book is free!

So this just leaves you to pick your first book...

Give us a call or email to discuss your first book.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

An Air of Excitement!

There is an air of excitement hanging around the shop at the moment.  We have just had confirmation from the author Douglas Bond that he is planning a visit! Many of our customers will know books by Douglas Bond - we are often recommending his historical fiction for children, we also highly rate his historical novels for adults.  But he is not just a fiction writer - he writes solid biographies too, plus a few books on theology and Christian living. He also has a particular interest in hymnology. Take a look at this list of his titles that we stock, and have a read of our reviews...

If you would like to meet Douglas Bond please come along on Wednesday 6th July, he is hoping to be here between 3pm and 5pm and will be bringing his latest title War in the Wasteland which is a historical fiction about C S Lewis and World War 1. 

Even more exciting for the budding writers amongst us is that Douglas will be running a Writing Workshop from 4pm.  If you are interested, please get in touch. Because space is limited it is essential that you book for this session.

If you are too far away to meet Douglas Bond but would like to have a book signed, please let us know which title you would like and we will arrange for him to sign it. We can then despatch it to you after the event.

Keep an eye on our facebook page, or twitter feed for more details.

Friday, 27 May 2016


The early church fish symbol forms the title of this book - its meaning spelled out in the subtitle: Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Saviour. In their own words, Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas have in this book "brought to the church a series of expositions on the high points in Christ's life and ministry." They both served at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina, where these expositions were first preached. It is theologically deep and rich fare that the congregation evidently received - how different from what are served up as sermons in many churches! It is also savoury, because here in 9 key events, from the Manger to the Throne, we gaze upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We view his majesty in his servanthood and sufferings. We learn more of him in straight forward and engaging teaching: who he really is, and what he really has done.
There is a certain enchantment I find in the literary style of this book. Curiously stilted - something reflected by the typography - perhaps it has to do with the translation of the material from sermons to a book. But I must sound a note of caution: I have a concern about the interpretation of the divine/human nature of Christ, when it comes to his personal consciousness. eg. the reference on p.72 to "Jesus' knowledge of his own identity", and the paragraphs there about the extent of his knowledge, and his need to learn. Is it valid to think of his two natures as if they were separate and watertight compartments? I worry that some of these speculations try to too closely analyse the earthly experience of Christ. The Bible simply says, "great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." (1 Timothy 3:16).
Of course, I would be only too willing to stand corrected on this matter, recognising the impressive credentials of the authors. But I would encourage anyone to read this book with care, and, where necessary, to draw forth 'the precious from the vile.'

'Ichthus' by Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas is published by the Banner of Truth in paperback (2015) for £6.50.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Isaiah by the Day

This book gives me a headache - on what shelf should I put it? It calls itself a 'devotional commentary', but it would be difficult to comfortably put it in either (or fit it in as a matter of fact because of its size.  At 22 x 17cm it is a big 'un). For the moment I have settled for devotional.  It is certainly not a verse by verse commentary, and would not be useful to consult in this way.  But at the end of each of the 71 sections Motyer has divided the book up into (for convenience sake), there is a paragraph of reflection.  This is usually excellent.  Well composed and concise but full of matter for mediation, application and prayer.  It has not been a drag to use this book for daily readings. They are fairly long, but fascinating, although not perhaps for everyone.  It depends on whether you are willing to accept the author's own translation of the prophecy of Isaiah.  Do you want to read it in an unfamiliar rendering, or would you prefer to simply follow what you know? The advantage of proceeding with the former is that Motyer, with his skill as an Old Testament scholar, adds many snippets of translational notes and historical references.  He has also translated and set out the text in a form so as to reflect its literary style, and give a feel for the original language.  Motyer's passion is to enrich people's experience of Isaiah, and in this he succeeds well. This is a nicely produced hardback edition and would make a suitable gift for anyone who would like to be considered as a student of the Bible.
Isaiah by the Day, by Alec Motyer, published by Christian Focus Publications, £14.99

Monday, 21 March 2016

Life, the Universe and Everything

I came to this book interested, but not overly enthusiastic.  I hadn't read Rob Slane's previous book (although it does sit on our shelves), nor do I usually like the often cringe-worthy style of imaginary conversations in defending a point. However, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised and even gripped! Rob Slane is obviously a man who has walked the atheist walk and talked the talk.  He knows the arguments inside out and is well placed to write on this topic. Not only that, he writes well.
So in the book we follow the conversation between an atheist (Alex) and a Christian who happen to be sitting together on a train and discover many similarities and many obvious differences between themselves. In this way we cover the main atheistic objections to Christianity:
Objection 1: If God exists, prove it
Objection 2: Science has disproved God
Objection 3: If God is so good, why does he allow evil?
Objection 4: You don't need to believe in God to be moral
Objection 5: What is truth?
Objection 6: Christianity is irrational
Objection 7: Religion is just a crutch for people who can't face reality
Objection 8: Nobody believes the Bible any more
Objection 9: Christianity has failed to fulfil its promises
Objection 10: Give me one good reason why I should believe what you believe
The topics range widely and we read discussion about Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin, from Epicurus and Francis Schaeffer to Bertrand Russell and his teapot. We consider the vulnerability of humanist ethical standards, the reality of living with no absolutes, the relativity of subjective truth and the irrationality of a purposeless universe. I found the book fascinating and informative without being too heavy. I would happily give the book to older children as well as adults; Christian, atheist or agnostic.
And by the way, the conversation style is so realistic I even admit to finding myself wondering what happened next to Alex and whether there will be a sequel!
A Christian and Unbeliever Discuss... Life the Universe and Everything. by Rob Slane, Day One Publications, £7

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A Clearing of the Mists

In Pursuit of Wisdom upon the Scottish Hills.
Martin Haworth is a previously unknown name to me, but he reveals something of his journey to faith in this deeply reflective book. His has been a varied life: brought up in Manchester (Mancunians beware page 31!), dropping out of University to a back-to-nature job in forestry in Scotland, but also at other stages working in business in the Middle East, then starting up a guesthouse in the Scottish Highlands, before feeling a call to missionary work in the Philippines. He has always had a passion for the great outdoors, and the mountains of Scotland have drawn him back again and again to them, not only to complete his round of the 'Munros' (all the peaks over 3000 ft high to the uninitiated), but also for spiritual reasons. He would be the first to refute the idea of valid spiritual experience deriving solely from lonely mountain fastnesses, without regard to the Creator of those wonderful high places, nevertheless here his soul has been refreshed in God. Out of these times he draws some twenty one chapters of 'guided meditations'. Their titles, such as 'Seeking Direction', 'In Adversity', 'Being Approved', and 'In Fear of Man' give a flavour of the topics he explores, relating them to particular ascents he has made on well known, and some less well known, mountains of Scotland (hand drawn maps helpfully included). Haworth has some great tales to tell: most of his walks were solo (not to be copied!) and many were in demanding but rewarding winter conditions. Hill walkers of all standards from pootlers to scramblers will respond to his enthusiasm for the wilds. It is good to come across a book of this type, which has a christian perspective on it, and aims at magnifying the glory of God as seen in his creation, as well as deriving lessons for life's pathway. The meditations and their applications are not all of the same quality: there is some navel gazing and some doubtful theology to be sure, but there is also much to chew slowly and thoughtfully on. Here is your invitation to create a 'mountain panorama' of your life (and draw it if you wish, see page 249!) Note: many Bible portions are quoted in full, unfortunately from the NIV.

'A Clearing of the Mists' by Martin C Haworth
Christian Focus Publications
£8.99 p/b


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Elizabeth Prentiss - by Sharon James

Just occasionally, publishers get book covers horribly wrong. We all know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but we all sub-consciously do it.  So, we are very pleased to see that Sharon James' biography of Elizabeth Prentiss has a new dust-jacket.

The contents have not changed and the price is the same, but because we still have a copy of the book with the older dust-jacket we are selling it cheaper. Instead of £15 you can have it for £10.  Use voucher code MORELOVE when you order online, or quote this code to order by phone/email.
Tip: The book without the dust-jacket looks great!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Virtually Human

We live in an era when our information is increasingly provided by a search engine, and our interactions are via social media. Technological advance is hailed with optimism and increases in pace. But are we somehow being changed by the tools we develop? Are we becoming less human - more impersonal - in synch with a virtual world? But we hardly have time to frame these important questions, let alone find answers, before the next wave of technology hits us. This tends to provoke knee jerk reactions, either to look back to 'better days', or to embrace the change uncritically. But, as the authors put it in this book, 'the questions technology poses are not simply technological questions.' They are the old questions touching on the nature of human life. The big technology firms like Google and Facebook know this, and their advertising strategy is to provide consumers with a vision of human flourishing.
Here, immediately, a biblical perspective is required. What is the true vision for human life? Only in Jesus Christ are we set free and set right. All other stories are just that - stories. Fallen man seeks to set himself at the centre of the universe and put God out of the picture. The greater the power of the technology he develops, the more he magnifies evidence of his Fall in its employment. The internet and its related technologies provide unprecedented power, and these are now embedded in modern life.
Therefore in this book we are bidden to challenge attitudes and behaviour with scriptural truth. Personal ego, consumer culture, 'image', use of time and knowledge, empathy, community etc are all under the microscope. Parents may read this book with their children's online habits in mind, but will be reminded that their own interaction with the internet is to be examined first. We all want to be connected and in control, but unless we set some boundaries, we are in danger of being continually distracted, and failing to relate to real people in the here and now.
The authors are good at pointing out uncomfortable truths for us! But even if it is a rough ride at times, and I wouldn't go along with all the theology, be sure to engage with these issues, which a digital world thrusts upon us.

Virtually Human. Flourishing in a Digital World.
Ed Brooks and Pete Nicholas
p/b £8.99.

What a telling quote - 'When Facebook tells my friends that I am at home with my children, my children will tell you that I am actually on Facebook with my friends!'

Saturday, 16 January 2016

New resolution to read more?

Have you made a New Year's Resolution to read more? If you have, now would be a great time to join our online reading club Reading Together (ladies only).  We are just about to get going on a new book - Spiritual Mindedness by John Owen.  The idea of the reading club is to support and encourage each other to read books that we would normally find difficult or too time consuming.  Just a chapter or 2 every couple of weeks is all we ask - and you can keep up with everyone else by checking back on the blog & reading the posts and comments.  The blog is for subscribed members only. Have a look at the details on this new book and just send me an email (lorna@christianbookshopossett.co.uk) if you fancy joining in.